Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA)
The FIA annual inventory provides objective and scientifically credible data on the extent, condition, volume, growth, depletion and health of our forest resources, and measures these changes over time. This information helps researchers, policymakers, consultants, private industry, landowners and natural resource professionals better understand current forest conditions and significant changes across Colorado and the nation.
USFS Partners with State Agencies
To ease the administrative and logistical demands of preforming such a thorough and wide-spread survey, the USFS partners with State agencies and private contractors to conduct the FIA program.
Since the late 1990’s, the USFS has collaborated with the Colorado State Forest Service to conduct and continuously update a comprehensive inventory and analysis of the forest and rangeland conditions in Colorado and Wyoming.
“I enjoy FIA because it is both challenging and rewarding. FIA requires thorough logistical planning to be safe and efficient, while allowing my crew to see natural areas that few others ever get to see. I love having the opportunity to share my outdoor experiences and the health of our forests with people.”
~Drew Clements , FIA Forester
Colorado State Forest Service Leads FIA Process in Colorado
Colorado is the first state in the Rocky Mountain Region where leadership of the Interior West-FIA process has been assumed by a state agency. Here the FIA Program is funded by the USDA Forest Service and conducted on the ground by Colorado State Forest Service personnel. Plots on all land ownership types around the state are randomly selected for possible sampling of current forest health conditions.
Private Landowner Participation Helps Foresters Monitor Statewide Forest Health
Every spring, private forest landowners around the state receive letters from the Colorado State Forest Service to request property access to collect essential data about forest health conditions in Colorado.
These requests are part of the National Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program – the principal source of information used to assess the status of America’s forests.
Benefits of the Annual Inventory System
- Provides data on forest cover, tree species composition, wood volume, tree health and other factors
- Provides baseline information to measure changes over time
- Consistent data collection over a period of many years allows for correlation with other time-series data, such as temperature and rainfall
First 10-Year Cycle of Inventory Data Completed
In Colorado, 4,500 permanent forest inventory plots have been established statewide; approximately 10 percent of these two-and-a-half-acre plots are examined annually. All sampling is done on foot, using completely non-destructive sampling methods, and the data for each plot is normally collected in a single day. Landowner information is held confidential and not included in the FIA database.
In 2011, the first 10-year cycle of forest inventory data across Colorado was completed.